Friday, June 28, 2013

Road Trip Randomness...

we saw some of the most beautiful, clean rest stops.
this one happened to be in Minnesota almost into Iowa

we saw lots of facial hair and trucker hats
(this was Whole Foods, West Des Moines)

Lauren had the perfect road trip spot...
Slurpee, snacks and an iTouch

Iowa is very, very flat

even in middle America, we found traces of home

Whattt???? never did figure this one out
uku lady?

Traci and I were so impressed with the renovations that
were going on in the large downtown areas

beautiful hand-made Minnesota wood bowl

we saw lots and lots of trucks and truck stops

and lots of red barns and silos

there seems to be a real trend toward co-op markets back there

Nice Ride Bikes.
We saw these all over Minneapolis, St. Paul and Des Moines.
Traci said they have them in New York also.
For a small fee, you rent a bike and ride between the rental stands.  Really a good idea.
We saw so many people riding bikes

Minnesota has some really big, old cemeteries.  
This one was Lakeshore and it was huge

we kept track of how many different car license plates we saw.
We saw over half of the US in just four days!

All-in-all a really great trip!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Birthday x 3...

Baseball, basketball, DS player
freckles, goofy, great reader

adventurous, surfer, gymnist
beautiful, sweet, funny

surfer, funny, thoughtful
first grader, reader, sportsman

these three who share the same birthday week, two share the same day.
They have our hearts
We just love them so...

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Happy, Happy Birthday....

the day has finally come!
these two get to have their birthdays!

Happy Birthday Grey!

Happy, Happy Birthday Lauren!

and last friday it was Jack's!

more birthday celebrations later...

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Family Camping...

it was by pure luck that I got a campsite at Doheny State Park.  I just happened
to check and there was a 1 night opening.  So I checked with everyone and they were up
for it.
We decided that we'd take our bus and leave it there over-night with the other
two tents but come back to the MH to sleep.  The bus is just too dusty
for my allergies to stand it and hubby had to work on Monday.
So we loaded everything up and off we went.

it actually didn't take too long for the kids to set up their tents

the grands played a few games while everything was getting set up

didn't take long for little feet to get pretty dirty

sitting in the shade over-seeing the whole process

once everything got set up the kids all went to the beach.
I just realized you can see all the kelp in the water in this little wave.

the girls played in the dirt
while the boys tossed a baseball around or skateboarded

Geoff cooking the burgers

Miss Emme just having a lot of  fun

oh these boys...

Traci using Emme to stay warm

Bri was such a good sport.  She'd never camped as a child, so this whole
thing is pretty new to her.  I love how she's really gotten into the whole thing.

Uncle Geoff showed Lauren how really dried seaweed will pop when thrown on the

the kids loved waiting for it to pop

Geoff showed Grey how to toast the perfect marshmallow for s'mores

Emme went to sleep and the boys watched a little bit of a movie inside one of the tents

the next morning we woke up to RAIN!!!
couldn't believe it.  
Not mist or fog but rain.  Big drops.  
They said it had started in the middle of the night.
we'd put a lot away the night before, but the tents were letting in some water.

Emme had to check to see if everybody was up

we all pitched in and got everything packed and loaded
up even before eating.  the grands stayed in the bus to keep out of the rain while 

wet, soggy tents were not the way we wanted to end our first family campout...

but everyone still gave it about an 8 on the fun level.
We want to try again in Sept. when there won't be any rain, or trains.
We love our family!

Monday, June 24, 2013

MOA and a Little Food Crawl...

Traci and I had decided that we weren't going to go to the Mall of America (MOA),
but we read that there was an amusement park there.  So we looked at maps and 
figured out exactly where to park and decided to be there exactly when it opened and there WOULDN'T be any shopping!
We got there a little after it opened and were surprised that there weren't many people there.
The park is right in the middle of the mall and I have to admit, pretty cool.  It was so clean and
uncrowded.  We were talking to someone and they said it wasn't crowded because the weather outside
was so nice and people were glad to be why stay in.

Lauren was just getting a feel for the rides...

a log ride

one of many roller coasters

she just wasn't sure about the "Sponge Bob" roller coaster because
you went up-side-down twice. Traci went on it first and Lauren was excited
to see what her mom thought of it.

a whole store of Peeps!!!!

On one side of the park was a Lego store...

every Lego you could ever imagine

even this super cool VW camper...if I could have fit it in my bag I would have.
A guy took it out and showed me the inside of it.  It has the table, bed, curtains, everything!
I laughed at the age...16+

Lauren finally got the courage to go on this ride.  She and Traci went a few times
and then she started going by herself...

yup, that's "Miss Adventurous "
pretty proud of herself.

She begged to go back, but we wanted to get to Stillwater.

the one store we went into was Nordstrom's since it's one of Traci's accounts.
Traci took photos of the display and spoke to the mgr while Lauren and
I hung out.  We never even went into the American Girl store...places to go, more places to see.

Our first real meal in Iowa was at Whole Foods.  We knew that we'd be able to get food for Lauren there.

at MOA we ate at a great sushi place (sushi is always a good option for Lauren) called
CRAVE.  I had the poke and must admit it was some of the best I've ever had.

Traci had read about a cafe called "French Meadow".  The actually have their GF baked 
goods in stores out here. So we were anxious to try it.  Love it when places "get" the GF thing.

a little GF muffin for Lauren

my sprouted wheat quesidilla with spinach and egg...delicious

Lauren's GF cornmeal waffle with bananas, nut and real maple syrup from Vermont.
the syrup was so thick it was like honey.

Traci and her healthy hot cereal with almond milk and apples

To find places to eat, we'd ask Siri for the nearest GF restaurant .  In the Summit area of 
St. Paul, she directed us to a great place called "Brasa".  Really good simple, wholesome food.
They even had a GF poundcake!

Since our hotels had a breakfast included it was easy to eat there.
The wedding food was great (ham so tender, Lauren cut it with a fork) so that
was so easy.
Traci had packed lots of snacks and one night we went to dinner at Chipole or Chee-pot-lay
as Siri called it.
After our meal at French Meadow Traci and I didn't really eat was that filling.